A defense mechanism to prevent further hurt
According to one theory, narcissism is a defense mechanism developed by the brain of a person who got severely hurt. The main purpose of narcissism in such a case is to prevent further hurt of the EGO by exaggerating self-worth and devaluing all of those who put the person down.
A gap between the ideal self and the real self
When a big gap happens between the ideal self and the real self, the person might develop narcissism. The feelings of inferiority that a person experiences when they fail to be up to their high standards can cause narcissism.
Excessive praise by parents
Parents who excessively praise their children might let them develop an unrealistic view of themselves. The parent or the child then sets very high standards for themselves, and as a result, they might become narcissists in the future.
Inferiority leads to narcissism
When a person feels inferior, he might try to cover that by acting superior. Narcissism, or a superiority complex, can happen as a result of intense inferiority feelings.
Low self-worth leads to narcissism
If a person feels that they are not worthy or important, they might develop narcissism. In such a case, those people might develop narcissism in order to act like they are extremely worthy and important to reduce the effect of their original wound. (See Why narcissists block you?)
Severe neglect or abuse
Children who are neglected or abused develop a very low self-worth. Not all of those children develop narcissism, but some of them try to elevate their low self-worth by acting superior.
Overly spoiling a child
If a child was overly spoiled, they might conclude that they are extremely special or important. In such a case, the child might develop narcissism.
Being raised by narcissistic parents
Narcissistic parents can easily transfer their narcissism to their children. The parents will try to make the child believe that they are special and superior since they believe that everything that belongs to them, including their children, is considered very special. (See What happens when you Reject a Narcissist?)
Getting stuck in earlier development phase
According to one theory, all children are born narcissists then they slowly learn that they are not the center of the universe. Children who get stuck in the initial phase, due to excessive spoiling or any other reason, end up being narcissistic.
Some psychologists suggest that narcissism has genetic tendencies. As the environment interacts with those genes in such a way, narcissism is developed.
Failure of development of empathy
Some people suggest that when a person fails to develop empathy for others, they become narcissists, as they tend to focus on themselves while ignoring everyone else.
What Makes a Person a Narcissist?
What makes someone a Narcissist? Causes of Narcissistic Personality!